Memoirs of British soldiers who fought in the Peninsular War are commonplace and histories of the momentous campaigns and battles of Sir John Moore and Sir Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, can be numbered by the score. Yet surprisingly little has been published in English on their opponents, the French. Using previously unseen material from the French army archives in Paris, which includes numerous memoires that have not even been published in France, renowned historian Paul Dawson tells the story of the early years of the Peninsular War as never before. Eyewitness accounts of the horrific Siege of Zaragoza, in which more than 50,000 soldiers and civilians were killed defending the city, and of the cataclysmic Spanish defeats at Medellin and Ocaña are interspersed with details of campaign life in the Iberian Peninsula and of struggling through the Galician mountains in pursuit of the British army marching to Corunna. As well as the drama of the great battles and the ever-present fear of Spanish guerrillas the knife in the back, the flash of steel in the dark Paul Dawson draws on the writings of the French soldiers to examine the ordinary conscript s belief in the war they were fighting for their Emperor, Napoleon. In this much-needed study of the Peninsular War from the French perspective, Paul Dawson has produced an unprecedented, yet vital addition to our understanding of the war in Iberia. Napoleon’s Peninsular War is destined to become one of the classic accounts of this turbulent, yet endlessly fascinating era.
NAPOLEON’S PENINSULAR WAR The French Experience of the War in Spain from Vimeiro to Corunna, 1808-1809
A welcome account, from the French perspective, of the Peninsular War, 1808-1809. Excellent research and presentation of the campaigns using material from French Army archives.